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Video - Toulouse airport: the die is not yet cast

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In south west France there are no more than three entities vying to acquire 49.9% of the state shares in ATB,  the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport management company: Vinci Airports, Aéroports de Paris and SNC-Lavalin associated with Chinese investors. The French Minister of Finance (Economy, Finances and Industry) has still not decided. Regarding the public shareholders’ not yet forthcoming approval, some voices are being raised against the State’s disengagement concerning this strategic infrastructure. The President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESER) of the Midi-Pyrénées region, in which Toulouse is situated, is one of them.

Jean-Louis Chauzy, President - CESER Midi-Pyrenees:

"By selling its assets, the State weakens itself. Nine years ago, it decided to privatise highways, and the result: over that period we have deprived ourselves of 14 billion euros in revenue. This airport still brings in 10 million euros per year, and should be maintained as part of our industrial base. If not, tomorrow it will be the hydraulic power plants.”

And amongst the three offers, that of the Sino-Canadian consortium makes some people see red (absolutely no pun intended). It would however be financially well above all others, at around 300 million Euros, according to informed sources, and have even far reaching plans for turning the airport into a hub for flights between Europe and Asia, thus tripling its traffic, and even helping in the creation of a third subway line. Jean-Louis Chauzy does not believe one iota.

Jean-Louis Chauzy, President - CESER Midi-Pyrenees:

"Too ambitious to be honest. Nobody, neither the State nor the local communities, have asked to transform this platform into a Hub. Toulouse airport is not Orly. This is an urban agglomeration airport that has an industrial component which needs the airport for all its test flights.”

Proof that nothing yet is settled, the Sino-Canadian consortium has just made a proposal to the government to bring in a French investor at 13%, if their offer is accepted. The French Ministry of Finance’s decision is, therefore, perhaps not as imminent as some people say. After Toulouse, eight other airports will follow, starting with Lyon and Nice in the first half of 2015.

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